April 25, 2018 04:00PM
By Ashley Kus, The Citizen
BERLIN – After years of managing the garden center gift shop on the Chamberlain Highway, Tracy Shipman is opening her own store on Farmington Avenue filled with local artisan products .
“Dragonfly came about the last couple months,” the Berlin resident said of her new Dragonfly Home & Decor shop next to Dynasty Jewelers. “Now’s the opportunity to start my own and go off of that momentum.”
The garden center recently announced its closing and impending sale after more than five years in business.
Shipman, 37, said Dragonfly will be an extension of the center’s gift shop where she often assisted customers in decorating their homes with unique products.
She said her interior design background from her studies in Boston has helped in providing unique décor ideas for customers.
“I found that by going to a small store you get a personal touch,” she said. “I have many customers that will look at items and they don’t really know what to do with them, I show them what to do with them.”
Shipman has been busy stocking the store with various products ranging from candles and decorations, to baby clothes and accessories. Much of the items benefit different organizations and are “earth-friendly.”
“I made a store that I would love to go to that’s very friendly as far as made in the U.S., local artists, items that are good for the planet,” she said.
Pear-shaped Vance Kitira candles, out of New Jersey, help plant trees for reforestation when purchased, while eco-friendly steel Blu Bottles, out of California, refrain from using plastic bottles while donating a portion of sales to ocean conservation projects.
Dragonfly-themed gifts will also be available from cocktail plates to small door knobs.
“I’m very pleased Tracy decided to open on Farmington Avenue,” said Chris Edge, director of economic development for the town. “It’s great to see another store front filled.”
Shipman is hoping to open in time for Mother’s Day to give people an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind gifts.
“I feel like there are a lot of great gifts mom would love, even just like cutting boards here made by a gentleman out of Maine,” she said.
Like most of the products, the cutting boards feature vibrant patterns and colors next to a display of hanging pastel-coated candles.
‘When you buy from a small business and from an artist, that money goes right back into the community,” Shipman said. “It helps the economy a lot more than buying mass produced product.”
She said she is working on future ideas for products to benefit Berlin Animal Control and other town organizations.
More information can be found at https://www.dragonfly-ct.com/